Thursday, February 5, 2009

To Wean or Not to Wean

My daughter is almost 8 months old and we're already getting asked when we're going to stop nursing. Not only do I find this slightly offensive as most people wouldn't ask the mom of an 8 month old formula baby when they're going to stop giving them a bottle, but since I'm already counting down the days to when I can wean...well it makes me feel like a bad mom that I want to wean her, but I get my gander up when someone asks me that and makes me want to nurse her until she's 5.

I love nursing my children. I love that I provide their nourishment and I contribute to their mental well being because they know that they can count on me when they cry and need comforting. I love that they prefer me to anyone else and I think a lot of that is the fact that I nurse. I love that all three of my children would not take a bottle and two of them wouldn't/won't take a pacifier. Yes, not taking a paci is a little hard on us, but I love that I'm their number one comfort measure. I love the look of their little baby hands on my breast. I love looking into their eyes and I love seeing their eyes close as they fall asleep from nursing. I love the booby milk drunk look. You know the look I'm talking about!

I don't love my grandmotherly nursing bras. Yes, they have sexy ones, but I can't justify the cost of them. I don't love having to wear nursing pads all the time because sometimes they wrinkle or get pointy and make my breasts look funny in my shirts. I don't like leaking all over the place. I am embarrassed that one breast is significantly bigger than my other because my baby has a favorite side. No matter how often I nurse her on the smaller one, it just won't get bigger to match her favorite! I don't like that I forget to weigh myself after I nurse and my weight can fluctuate 4 lbs up or down depending on if I remembered to empty my breasts before stepping on the dreaded scale.

There are several more pros to cons when it comes to nursing my children. The cost comparison, the bond, the health benefits...I could go on and on about the benefits of breastfeeding your infants. But the honest truth for me is that I don't like being touched and having a person hanging off my breast for several hours every day for at least a year sometimes makes me cry. I am in bliss the first few months...then acceptance the next few months...and then the fidgets come on. I am starting to get those fidgets. I cannot wait for her to finish eating. I just would like to not be touched on a very sensitive part of my body for a few hours. My baby hits 9 or 10 months and I literally have to sit on my hands so I don't take them off before they're done eating because I get so overwhelmed with the sensory overload. They start to want to play and giggle and touch things and pull hair and crawl around...all while they're nursing. So I start to count down the months, weeks, and days until their first birthday and I can feel like I did my duty and can then take it day by day as to whether we will continue to nurse. I see these moms that nurse until their children are two or even older and I'm so jealous and proud of them! How wonderful for both of them that they still nurse! I hope everyday that I can make it that long. I want to make it that long, but the longest I've done is 13 1/2 months. I think I could have done longer if I wasn't pregnant again and sensitive, but I couldn't handle the touch overload. I want to just make it to her 2 year birthday. I would be so proud of myself if I nursed her that long. So, until then keep your fingers crossed for me that I can make it to 13 months and then 18 and then 24 months. And be proud of yourselves for everyday that you nursed your baby. Even if it's only for a few days. Every day of nursing is a gift to you and your baby and every drop is precious.


  1. I can relate to so many things you said! I know about that "milk drunk" look. I call it a milk coma.

    It's so sweet when Jesse strokes my chest or arm or holds my finger. He's recently been patting me. I like that I can stroke and pat him, too. I gave my niece a bottle once and it felt really weird. I didn't know how to hold it and I couldn't stroke her head or scratch my nose.

  2. LOL, I don't know how to hold a baby to bottle feed them either! It felt so weird the one time that I attempted it that I had to give the baby back to her mom b/c I was convinced I wasn't doing it right.

  3. We call that milk drunk look, "mama drunk." It feels good that my husband will give me the credit for her complete comfortable state of mind. My Kinsley is 5 months old now & sometimes I cry just thinking about weaning her. I had no idea how attached I would be nursing her.

    In my previous life, I was a postpartum nurse at the county hospital in Ft Worth.
    We grew custom to holding babies by their chest & feeding them in an upright, non personal manner. It's best for the babies as some nurses had the smell strong detergent or smoke on clothes. No baby needs that stinky stuff close.

    Of course, crying babies were held & cuddled appropriately & I never recall a nurse neglecting any baby. It is however important that any nurse ensure that the bond is created between the baby & the mother.

    Some parents actually think, that when they go to a hospital, it is the responsibility of the nurse to do all of the baby care. I quickly encouraged bonding of babies immediately & every chance I got. Even the mama's who were in prison & delivered at our hospital, I made sure they tried to nurse the baby for the first colostrum.

    I consider it a true blessing to be able to nurse my baby!

  4. Such a sweet post. :)

    Though I 110% understand that feeling of wanting to be done. I feel that way from day one. Ugh.

    I think I'm just all touched out today.

    Thanks for the good read - good luck on the nursing!